Merlot with a twist: Mount Angel Book Club uncorks fun

October 2017 Posted in Community, Food & Drink

By Nancy Jennings

Oprah Winfrey has one. So do most libraries. Now you can add Mount Angel’s Glockenspiel Restaurant to the list. Raise your glasses and toast “Wine & Words” – their new book club. Started in January, the free monthly literary group is open to the public. Already nearly 20 members strong, the women and men meet on the first Thursday of each month at 5 p.m. Some order dinner during the meeting. Special wines and beers are offered to sample. Complementary French baguette slices fill the bread baskets spread out on the tables.

Glockenspiel General Manager Kelsi Weeks said it took a group effort to get the social endeavor off the ground and onto the same page.

“The challenge was ‘how do we get moms and working women out on a Thursday to come have a glass of wine and do something fun?’” she said, adding that she enjoys receiving the group’s feedback on the various wine samples.

Maureen Ernst, former part-time marketing consultant for the restaurant, suggested starting a book club last Spring.

“I find the book club participants very fascinating because everyone has different interests. Personally, I have really branched out on my ‘reads.’ The suggestions from the members have been very educational,” she said.

Some books discussed so far have included As Always, Julia by Julia Child, Seven Stones to Stand or Fall by Diana Gabaldon, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan, The Sister by Louise Jensen and Alphabet Weekends by Elizabeth Noble.

Mary Grant, owner and managing partner of the restaurant, enjoys the freeform social style of the group.

“The book club starts off about books, but always talks about what is happening in people’s lives. We had one lady participating in a play (Brush Creek Playhouse’s The Hallelujah Girls). Some went to watch her and a lot of us got to hear about how it went and what went on backstage,” she recalled.

Weeks said at this point the group hasn’t followed the typical format of reading the same book and following up with a discussion. Instead they choose a genre – such as books about motherhood – and then share their findings from the books each person has selected.

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.37.09 PM“I love books of any kind. I write down what everybody brings and we talk about it,” Weeks said. The single mother of two young children has worked at the restaurant for five years, having been a cook and server. She has written a couple of blogs for the restaurant on their website. “It was about the history of how this place came about,” she said.

Looking ahead, Weeks would like to invite guest speakers to share their expertise – such as local writers sharing tidbits about their craft. She is also open to hosting book signings for local published authors.

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